May 15 2009

Film “The Inaugural Indy 500 Race”

In celebration of the Indianapolis 500 Race on Memorial Day, this film shows the first Indy 500 Race held on May 30, 1911. Highlights include:

-The drivers and mechanicians posing for their official photo prior to the race

-Speedway president Carl Fisher's Stoddard-Dayton acting as the pace car

-The start of the race

-Teams changing tires for Ray Harroun's Marmon, Bob Burman's Benz, and David Bruce-Brown's Benz

-A tire falling off the #26 Jackson

-The two-time Vanderbilt Cup Winner #19 Alco challenging the leaders

-The mechanician for the #8 Case falling out of the car

-The #7 Wescott crashing into the #35 Apperson and #18 Fiat

-The Marmon "Wasp" taking the checkered flag

-Winning driver Ray Harroun celebrating his victory

I believe this is the only existing film showing the Alco-6 Black Beast in action during a race.

Links to related posts on

Index: Alco-6 Black Beast Racer

Index: Alco-6 Black Beast Racing History

Index: Indy 500 Races


May 17 2009 Dan Burkett 12:32 PM

Very nice film.

May 17 2009 Mike Leahy 1:18 PM

Hi Howard,

Thanks so much for making this available and letting all of the Racing History forum members know about it.  This is a great piece of history.

Mike Leahy
Cincinnati, Ohio

May 20 2009 Howard Kroplick 12:28 PM

7 Comments from the blog at

Tominrichardson: That’s a pretty cool old flick. Thanks!

CraigW: Thanks for sharing !!

purduefan26:  Thanks so much!

Railroad: Thank you, Mr.Kroplick, that was great!

Doc Fong: Yes loved every glorious B&W moment of it. Thanx

IndyAndy: That is so COOL! I’ve probably seen stills from that film a hundred times, but I never realized that they were lifted from an actual film clip. Thanks for sharing.
ernestmiller: Howard, That was great! Regards, Ernest

May 21 2009 Brian Boettcher 6:12 PM

Great flick…until we get to the end. 

Mulford never challenged Harroun’s win.  The protest involved second and third place; look it up.  Bruce-Brown claimed he had finished second, ahead of Mulford.  The timing records, including voice recordings, were reviewed overnight by the race committee.  There were no heated arguments behind closed doors, or any of that, if one accepts the contemporary accounts.

Or, let’s put it this way:  Since Bruce-Brown claimed in his protest to have finished ahead of Mulford, and if Mulford simultaneously claimed he had won the race, why didn’t Bruce-Brown also then claim to be the 1911 winner? 

BTW: Throughout his life Mulford never claimed to have won, either.  When asked he was forever coy - never denying the suggestion, and never claiming victory.

May 21 2009 Howard Kroplick 9:46 PM

Hi Brian:

Thanks for the comment. The finish of the first Indy 500 Race was certainly a mess and Mulford’s Lozier team was not happy. Here is Russell Jaslow’s take on it:


May 24 2009 Howard Kroplick 1:36 PM

From Forty5Ford:
Thanks for sharing the video. I was raised in Indiana where it was long tradition for family gatherings and cooking out while listening to the race every Memorial weekend. For years, I have turned on the television shortly after waking up on race morning to watch the historical and storied event. I last attended a race in the early 1980s so I’m particularly excited about plans to attend the 2010 and 2011 races - especially the nostalgia. Thanks for the memories.

Sep 15 2014 Gil 2:35 PM

I am searching for info on first token given at the 1911 race. Please forward any info u might have.
Thank you

Oct 28 2014 chad 7:05 AM

i have one of the tokens and some info if you want to email me

Apr 19 2015 Sherry 4:47 PM

I recently found a 1911 token in some items from an auction. Any idea on the value?

From Howard Kroplick

Hard to say without more information. Please send a jpeg to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) .

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